4 Ways to Be a Great Waitress

Always look presentable. If you wear a uniform, make sure to keep it in excellent condition – ironed, stain-free and neat. If there is no uniform, wear well kept, slightly formal clothing. This gives the customers a better first impression and will keep your boss happy. Check your appearance periodically to see if you look disheveled or have spilled something on yourself without noticing.

  • Keep your nails clean and tidily cut.
  • Wear nice looking shoes, not tennis shoes, and keep them tightly tied. Never wear sandals.
  • Refrain from wearing perfume or cologne as some guests may have allergies to these scents. Similarly, try not to smoke before work or during your break, as it can leave an obnoxious smell.
  • Keep jewelry and makeup subtle and unobtrusive.

Know the menu thoroughly. Being familiar with every item on the menu will save you a lot of time and trouble when taking orders. Study the menu on your own time if necessary to avoid mistakes and slow orders.

  • Become familiar with every option for every order. If a customer orders a sandwich, you should know which breads are available, which sides come with the sandwich, and how to phrase these questions clearly.
  • Know which dishes contain meat, dairy, and common allergens, such as peanuts. Be ready to suggest similar alternatives for customers who cannot eat those ingredients.
  • Familiarize yourself with the daily specials before each work shift.

Suggest additional purchases. Politely ask whether the customer would like a drink, a side, or an upgrade to their order. Management will love you for this and your tips will increase as your customers purchase more.

  • Know which liquors are expensive and high quality. Suggest their use when a customer requests a mixed drink.
  • Always ask if the table would like an appetizer.
  • Never be pushy or deceptive. Present the option to the customer politely, and don’t try to pass off an upgrade as though it were free.

Multitask. You’ll have a much easier shift if you can accomplish three tasks in one trip to the kitchen and back. Take empty dishes from tables whenever you’re on your way to the kitchen. Fill up a tray when several tables want condiments, drinks, or similar items instead of carrying them out one by one.

  • Unless you are an experienced waitress who can confidently remember every task, write your orders down immediately and make additional notes if you need to remember to do something in five or ten minutes.
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